UTD student, Dylan Miles runs non profit campaign for second year in row to clothe homeless in Houston
UTD student runs charity event to help clothe the homeless population of Houston.
Dylan Miles, a junior majoring in business marketing, is running a non-profit event called “Hoodies for the Homeless” through his clothing brand where sponsors can contribute $30 to fund the creation of a hoodie for a person struggling with homelessness.
The event will take place on Dec. 23 at 11 a.m. at 2020 Congress Street in Houston, Texas. Miles is also seeking donations of toiletries and food to distribute. Students can make contributions by contacting Miles’ business Instagram, @BetOnYourself Clothing.
Miles started his brand BetOnYourself during his freshman year of college, dropping his first batch of clothing on June 11, 2021. He has received support from UTD students and the Houston basketball community, who he played with in high school, helping him get the brand off the ground. Miles describes BetOnYourself’s style as streetwear, with t-shirts, hoodies, beanies, joggers and sweatpants for sale. Celebrities, including artists J. Cole and Fat Joe, and athletes Shaquille O’Neal and Andre Johnson have worn BetOnYourself. However, success was not always automatic for Miles, which is where the brand name takes its inspiration.
“The name came from me always being one of the smallest guys on the basketball court,” Miles said. “So that was some of the adversity that I always dealt with, just being told, you know, you can’t do this because you’re too small or you won’t be this, you won’t be that. So, betting on myself was something that I had to do a lot … when I was thinking of a brand name, I wanted it to be meaningful and something that a lot of people can relate to. And I know there’s been a lot of people who, especially after the pandemic, that, you know, have faced hardships.”
The first Hoodies for the Homeless event was held in 2021, where organizers distributed over 90 hoodies in less than 30 minutes and provided bags of toiletries and snacks. Houston news outlet ABC13 covered the event. As motivation, Miles cites his parents, who both helped to organize Hoodies for the Homeless and taught him the importance of giving back to the community at a young age.
“I’ve always had a passion for service, just helping others,” Miles said. “I like to see others happy. I don’t like really to see others down. That really bothers me. So when I drive through a city like Houston, where there’s a very large homeless population and I see people sleeping on the ground, with no clothes on and stuff like that … that’s a very hard thing for me to look at.”
Miles’ favorite part of Hoodies for the Homeless is being able to sit down to talk with the recipients.
“I had a group, it was, it was two guys, last year and it’s actually a video of ’em on Instagram,” Miles said. “Once they got the hoodie, they were kind of just talking about how excited they were, how grateful they were. And I [liked] just seeing the excitement on their faces, seeing them grab that hoodie and put it on as soon as they got it and walk around the street. I drove around that area maybe a week later and saw a couple people still having a hoodie on. So that really just fueled my heart, knowing that I did something great for the community at such a young age.”
BetOnYourself accepts $30 donations through Zelle, CashApp, PayPal and in-person donations, which covers the cost of producing a hoodie. Leftover money goes toward beanie production. Those interested should contact Miles’ business Instagram or business email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Organizers are also seeking food and toiletry donations such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, fruit cups, crackers, protein bars, fruit snacks and face masks. Miles invites students to participate as volunteers to give back to their community and earn volunteer hours.
“I don’t really do it for the exposure, but I know it is good for my brand,” Miles said. “Like that we are giving back … but the main focus and the main message behind this is, you know, to get those people who are struggling something to wear, something to eat and just [be] a positive spirit around Christmas time.”
In the future, Miles plans to expand Hoodies for the Homeless to Dallas. As president of the Tau Xi chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Miles organizes several other community service events, and after graduation, Miles hopes to continue his philanthropy by creating a college scholarship fund for his hometown of Humble, Texas.
“You just never know how you can impact somebody’s day… so that would be my message, you know, just try to get out every once in a while. I know people are busy with school and work, but you know, you can block some time off for somebody else and just make a difference in the community … Just spread positivity, spread love.”